Yosemite National Park in California (pronounced Yos-sem-it-tee). Boy oh boy. The closest thing to paradise I’ve seen and the highlight to date of my USA roadtrip.
Waterfalls galore, tremendous glacier carved granite cliff faces, greenery abounds and the snowy Sierra Nevada mountain range that’s only visible from the highest peaks.
There’s one problem though – everyone knows it!
And isn’t that the problem with so many “must see” places? By the time they reach that “must see” status that once secluded paradise has turned into Highway 101.
Now that’s not to say Yosemite was over crowded or even remotely unpleasant when I was there. Not at all. I hiked for five hours straight and only saw five people.
What I gathered from others was right now is one of the best times of year to visit too. The waterfalls are approaching their peak, the crowds are quite alright, and the weather is just about perfect. The summer crowds of July and August are apparently wild.
But even so the evidence is still there. Trails that are a four hour tough slog away from the nearest car are well and truly beaten in and over a metre wide. And this is at the start of the hiking season too, albeit after the snowmelt. What will the trails look like in four months time?
But regardless of this I had a really really damn awesome and satisfying time. Just mind blowing surroundings.
Yosemite was the place I was most looking forward to visiting on this roadtrip and it didn’t disappoint.
The valley itself is really impressive. 1 mile wide, 7 miles long and surrounded by sheer walls of granite that loom 1000m above in all directions.
I knew I only had two days to make my Yosemite experience one to remember so it was go go go.
Day 1 I did a 9km return hike to the top of Vernal Falls and Nevada falls. The mist at the base of Vernal falls was so intense that a rainbow was visible.
Then I caught the free shuttle bus to Lower Yosemite Falls. Yosemite Falls is the tallest waterfall in North America and the fifth tallest in the world. 739 metres top to bottom over two waterfalls – Upper and Lower Yosemite Falls.
I managed to squeeze in a drive up to Glacier Point stopping at the awesome and very popular Tunnel View lookout.
The weather turned wild that afternoon. Rain, fog, clouds, and even some hail.
So so happy the weather played nice for Day 2. Thank-you weather gods. I did the longest hike I’ve ever done in a day. 31km over 10 hours and climbed about 1500m up and down. It was pretty tough but awesome to have accomplished. Eagle Peak was the highlight (and coincidentally the highest point) of the day.
Someday I’ll have to get back here to do the mother of all day hikes – Half Dome (the one in the picture below). Easy right? Only 26km.